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Is there any reason not to boil tea in advance to serve later for making milky tea?

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Is there some chemical property of tea that makes it taste bad if you brew it an let it sit, and then re-heat it later when you want to mix milk in it for masala tea?

I find myself hating the tea making part of desi hostessing at large gatherings. I wanted to brew the black part of the tea, just the pure tea and water first. Then leave it in the brewing pot (this is a large stock pot) and later re-heat it. I will add cardamom with the tea when it boils. Then later in the evening I am actually adding sweetened condensed milk, not regular milk and sugar, as I usually do for party tea. So, those are the specific details.

The tea is very strong and I fear it will have corrosive properties. Will this eat the non-stick enamel off of my pot? Should I do this in a stainless steel pot or will the tea react with the metal? Should I pour the boiled tea into a glass bowl to prevent a reaction from it sitting in the nonstick pot for too long, then just pour it back in the pot to re-heat?

Does tea start to taste weird when it sits around, like coffee? Iced tea sits around, so it shouldn't be bad, right?

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  1. I assume you are using black tea if you are making chai?
    If your'e going to make the tea ahead of time then I'd strain it to take the tea leaves out once it was quite strong and then reheat the liquid.Otherwise the tannins in the tea will continually leach out and make it very bitter. Alternatively you could keep them in and let it down with hot water when you're ready to serve with the condensed milk.
    You could go Burmese style and use powdered tea sachets. Not for everyone but it I got quite addicted to it while I was there.
    As for corrosion, not sure but definitely think it would seriously stain the enamel.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      Thanks. Good thinking about the staining of the pot.

      1. re: Paprikaboy

        I genuinely don't know whether reheating will work or not - despite drinking tea all my life! It just doesn't stay around long enough, someone will always drink it...

        Definitely, as paprikaboy says, take the leaves out - certainly here in Britain we talk about "stewed" tea as tea that has spent too long in contact with the leaves and it's vile stuff. And say goodbye to the colour of your teapot enamel!

        Oh, and don't use condensed milk - it has such a difference in texture that I'm sure it will change the taste; just pour a jug of milk and the appropriate amount of sugar in, or better yet let your guests do so themselves to taste.

        How many are you hosting? With an extra kettle or two and enough teapots there is no limit, and while no-one else can get to the level of the full Japanese tea ceremony, the little rituals attached to the making and serving of tea are definitely part of the experience and an appropriate thing to do for a party...

      2. Like paprikaboy says, it should be fine so long as you strain the tea once it reaches your desired strength.

        There is some literature about flavor compounds in tea interacting with copper, iron, steel and aluminum, so it might be better to store the tea in glass. I always make and store my sun tea in glass rather than metal.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JungMann

          I ended up steeping the tea to the desired consistency. Then I poured (strained, I mean) it in a glass pitcher and hid it in a cabinet. Then I took it out and poured it back in the pot and reboiled it. Nothing happened. It tasted fine.

          But, an odd effect was that when I took the tea out of the cabinet (maybe 3 hours later) it was cloudy. But when I reboiled it, the cloudiness disappeared. Not sure what that means.

          Anyway, it came out well and I plan to do this from now on when I host desi parties because I hate the end of the night tea boiling.